Michael Palin presents the Mauritius kestrel, from the island of Mauritius.
Michael Palin presents the Mauritius kestrel from the island of Mauritius. Today the calls of several hundred Mauritius kestrels ring out across the forests and farmland of the island, so it's hard to believe that as recently as the early 1970s, only four birds could be found in the wild.
These smart chestnut falcons were almost wiped out by a cocktail of threats ...destruction of their evergreen forests, pesticides and the introduction of predators such as monkeys, mongooses, rats and cats. When a species is so critically endangered there aren't many options, and conservationists decided that their only choice was to take some of the wild Mauritius kestrels into captivity.
By 1993, 300 Mauritius kestrels had been released and by November of that year there were as many as 65 breeding pairs in the wild. Now the kestrels are back, hovering above the landscapes that nearly lost them forever.
Mauritius kestrel (Falco punctatus)
Recording of Mauritius kestrel by Jon P Erickson / Ref: ML 167409
This programme contains a wildtrack recording of the Mauritius kestrel kindly provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; recorded by Jon P Erickson on 4 Nov 2009, in the lower gorges, 1.5km NWW of Black River Gorges National Park, Black River, Maruitius.